Candy Cane Cake for Christmas by Charlotte White of Restoration Cake
Sometimes you want to be festive without dragging out last year’s Santa and plastic Rudolph. The cake is the answer – understated seasonal glamour. Have yourself a merry little Christmas, sweetie!
20-cm Classic Victoria Sponge Cake filled with Basic Buttercream and raspberry jam, crumb-coated with Basic Buttercream
1.5 kg white sugarpaste
250 g royal icing, one-third of it coloured red (I’ve used Red Extra food colouring)
25-cm cake drum marzipan spacers
red ribbon (15 mm width)
2 parchment piping bags each with small round piping nozzle
parchment or plastic piping bag with a large open star nozzle
3 red Wired Roses
Serves up to 20
1 Prepare and cover the Classic Victoria Sponge Cake with 1 kg of white sugarpaste.
2 Cover your cake drum with 500g white sugarpaste by rolling out to the thickness of your marzipan spacers, brushing a little water on the drum and then laying the sugarpaste on top. Smooth your sugarpaste down using a straight-edge smoother and then trim the excess away as if you were trimming a pie dish – hold the drum at eye-level from underneath and run a large sharp knife all around the edges of the drum until the excess falls away. Finish the edges of your cake drum with red ribbon, secured with double-sided tape.
3 Mix up your royal icing, colouring half of it scarlet red using Red Extra food colouring (or a similarly bright red). Fill 2 parchment piping bags, both fitted with small round piping nozzles, with your 2 royal icing colours. Pipe a little white royal icing on the middle of your covered cake drum and carefully place your cake centrally on the drum.
4 To create the candy cane stripes around the side of your cake, begin with your white royal icing and small round nozzle/tip and pipe gently until the icing connects with the top edge of your cake. Continue squeezing the piping bag and pull your nozzle 5 cm or so away from the cake and gently downwards. An unbroken line of icing should be coming from your nozzle and the pull of gravity should be guiding it down in a perfectly vertical line. When you have nearly reached the bottom of your cake, stop squeezing and continue to guide your piping nozzle/tip down to connect with the bottom edge before pulling away. I am not going to lie; this takes practice so start with the white icing!
5 Carry on piping white pinstripes all around the sides of your cake at regular intervals before repeating this process with the red royal icing to create red pinstripes between white ones.
6 Use a piping bag fitted with a large open star nozzle to pipe a shell border along the top and bottom edges of your cake. This will conceal the points at which your pinstripes start and finish for a more seamless appearance. To pipe your shells, hold your nozzle at a 45° angle and squeeze gently until you are happy with the size of your shell. Stop squeezing and pull your piping bag around the cake until the shell tails off. Repeat this step this time piping over the tail of your last shell to create the illusion of a line of perfect shells.
7 Crown your cake with 3 beautiful red Wired Roses and a few rose leaves. Place a small ball of leftover white sugarpaste at the centre of your cake and gently push the stems of your roses into it to hold them securely. Leave your cake to dry for a few hours before serving up with festive cheer
Classic Victoria Sponge Cake
There are few things in life that are more disappointing that a dry slice of Victoria Sponge Cake. That’s why I won’t make one! This recipe is foolproof and the result is fluffy, light and moist. Whip up this cake for an afternoon teatime treat that is sure to delight your guests.
340 g unsalted butter
340 g caster sugar
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
340 g self-raising flour
11⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons whole milk
2 x 20-cm round cake pans
Makes 1 x 20-cm cake
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
2 Cream the butter and sugar together until they are pale and creamy. Never underestimate the time that it will take to complete this step. Allow 5 minutes using a freestanding mixer with a paddle attachment or 5–7 minutes using an electric handwhisk. If you want to opt for manual power, beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until cream-like and your arm falls off.
3 Add one egg at a time, allowing each egg to be fully incorporated before adding the next. This patience should prevent curdling.
4 Stir the vanilla extract into your mixture.
5 Sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl and fold into your wet ingredients by hand. Be gentle and stop mixing as soon as the flour is incorporated.
6 Add a little milk to make a dropping consistency – the cake mixture should dollop off of your wooden spoon like thick cream. Divide this mixture between 2 round cake pans and bake for 35–40 minutes or until the cakes are risen and a cocktail stick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. A 15-cm cake will need 25–30 minutes and cupcakes will take approximately 20 minutes to bake.
All buttercreams begin in the same way. I have added a few basic flavour alterations to allow you use your buttercream to complement your cake.
I like to beat my buttercream for a good 5 minutes to really fuse the icing sugar and butter together so that the end result is light, smooth and deliciously creamy.
250 g unsalted butter
250–350 g icing sugar
Makes enough for 1 x 20-cm cake
1 Roughly carve up the butter and beat in a freestanding mixer for 3 minutes until creamy. You can also do this using a handheld electric mixer or by hand, although you’ll find that the latter takes much longer.
2 At this point, you can add your desired flavouring: vanilla, chocolate, lemon or caramel.
3 Once your flavour is fully incorporated, add 250 g icing sugar and beat for 1 minute. Check the consistency of your buttercream – you are aiming for the thickness of thick whipped cream – if your buttercream is too runny, add another 100 g icing sugar. You will then need to beat the buttercream for a further 5 minutes, until the icing sugar is completely incorporated.